In this episode of My Vote My Right, women gather at a jagalikatte and Vijaya, the election officer, speaks about how one should decide which candidate to vote for. She also mentions how migrants and others who stay in non-permanent huts can cast their votes. “If certain people have been living in huts for more than two years, then they can consult booth-level officers. They will give them affidavits using which they can vote. Booth-level officers will have to cross-check the place where they are living and check with others as to how long they have been there for.”
This episode also features an interaction between waste workers and Kathyayini Chamaraj, who is a civic activist and a Trustee at CIVIC. She talks about complaints, violations, and malpractices during the electoral process.
“If a person has been staying in a place for more than 6 months, then they have the right to vote, but here we need an accurate address to be mentioned in the voters’ list. Unfortunately for people living in such areas, having a set address is rare and difficult. The Representation of the People Act mentions that the persons living under a flyover or under a street light have the right to vote because all of us are citizens of India. When such persons want to add their names to the voters’ list, they will need to fill Form 6; their applications may get rejected, however, if they have no documents to provide. The officers are supposed to take the forms and documents and give the applicants acknowledgment slips with reference numbers. Following this, the electoral officers should cross-check the residential address mentioned by the applicants. If the officer is a woman and is unable to come to the neighbourhood at night to verify the address with the help of neighbours, then the applicant can submit one affidavit as a promise that they are staying in a particular address.”
She also specifies that though one may have a voter ID, one can vote only in the vicinity of the address mentioned in the ID card. So, the first thing that one must do is follow up on the names when they do a summary revision. If one’s name is not mentioned on the rolls, then one can add their name 20 days before the voting day.
She also mentions how a candidate should submit details of their history of education, wealth, any police records, and any instances of communal activities to an election officer. Also, a new rule states that if any criminal cases against a candidate are pending, then they should publish that in a newspaper. “It is by reading about these details that we become aware voters, not by taking a bribe for each vote. Not only is the person who gives out money for votes punishable by law but so is the person who takes this money. She also emphasised how the candidate who distributes money always makes sure that they earn back the bribe amount through various projects. She also mentions details about ‘NOTA’.
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